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View Poll Results: Should people who can't read traffic signs be allowed to drive?
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11.43%
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Should people who can't read traffic signs be allowed to drive?

Old 04-24-06, 08:35 PM
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Should people who can't read traffic signs be allowed to drive?

I saw that article and I thought it would make a nice poll.

My answer is "No."


http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/state/ar...645470,00.html

Group said English-only license exam may bring suit

By Associated Press

April 24, 2006

NASHVILLE - A bill that would force people to take the Tennessee state driver's license exam in English would make the state vulnerable to a lawsuit if it becomes law, some groups said.

"It comes down to discrimination," said Janice Snow Rodriguez, executive director of the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute. "People who are in every other way within their right to get a driver's license are prevented from doing so."

But sponsors of the bill are adamant that their primary concern is road safety.

"Citizens of Tennessee need to have people who can read road signs," said Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, who is sponsoring the bill with Rep. Tommy Dubois, R-Columbia.

Ketron also has said part of his reason for supporting the bill is to prevent undocumented immigrants from fraudulently getting certificates for driving or licenses.

The Department of Safety stopped issuing driving certificates to illegal immigrants last month, after federal investigators found rings shuttling in immigrants from other states to get them. Some of the rings, in fact, targeted East Tennessee.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol does not keep data on the numbers of non-English speakers involved in highway traffic accidents.

Rodriguez said the absence of statistics could make the state vulnerable to a lawsuit based upon Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

He cites guidelines from a 2001 U.S. Department of Transportation notice which states in part that "assertions of safety justifications" of the kind made in support of the English-only drivers' test bill "would generally not be accepted unless accompanied by statistical and/or scientific causality studies showing a positive correlation between limited English proficiency and crash/injury rates substantially higher than would be expected due to chance."

In other words, if confronted with a lawsuit, the state would have to prove with numbers that drivers who do not speak English get in more accidents.

Alabama was hit with a lawsuit after it passed an English-only law in 1990. In that suit, Martha Sandoval, a legal Mexican immigrant, claimed that her civil rights were being violated. She won in a lower federal court.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Sandoval, arguing that private individuals did not have a right to sue unless they had been intentionally discriminated against.

Despite winning in the Supreme Court, Alabama continues to give its driver's license exam in a dozen languages.

Ketron said he believes that the 2001 Supreme Court ruling will protect the state from a federal lawsuit in the event that his bill becomes law.

But his opponents argue that in the Sandoval case the court ruled on a legal technicality that does not insulate the state from a lawsuit.

"On the merits, this bill violates Title VI," said Stephen Fotopulos, policy director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
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Old 04-24-06, 08:50 PM
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The poll question's a bit leading. Of course you don't want people who don't know what traffic signs are to drive, but you don't have to read to know what traffic signs mean. If you see a sign that's red and octagonal, you don't have to read the word on it to know that it means stop. There's only a handful of words you need to know anyway.
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Old 04-24-06, 09:06 PM
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I agree with Joe. This smells an awful lot like feel good legislation.

There is a standardized signage system in this country. All stop signs look the same. All yield signs look the same. Merge symbols all look the same, etc, etc. You don't need the actual words on the sign to know what they mean.


Now if the state wants to cut costs and stop making 12 language versions of the written exam, I have no problem with that either.

Last edited by Red Dog; 04-24-06 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 04-24-06, 09:08 PM
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"Can't read" is a pretty vague term. There's a big difference between not knowing how to read a book (comprehension, grammer, vocabulary) and not knowing what STOP means.

But please don't let me stop y'all from feeling superior as you strut around with your fancy book-readin' brains now.
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Old 04-24-06, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Molotov
There's only a handful of words you need to know anyway.
Like "Stop-this is the police!" or "Pull it over!" or "Get out of the car with your hands up!"?

Are there signs for those too? Is reading the important thing or understanding the language?
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Old 04-25-06, 08:28 AM
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I think we should just spend billions of dollars and make all signs, forms, etc. in every language, appeasing every fucking foreign group that may have people over here. Also require businesses to do the same. As apparantly our country is more interested in catering to everyone other than it's own citizens, just get it done once and for all.
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Old 04-25-06, 08:36 AM
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People should be required to <b><i>understand</i></b> traffic signs before they are allowed to drive.

If I'm on vacation in France or Italy and decide to rent a car, my assumption is that I should be able to navigate successfully without knowing how to read the signs (street names excluded), as long as I understand their meaning. It's silly to think the same shouldn't apply for non-Anglophone tourists in the US.
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Old 04-25-06, 08:57 AM
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when i got a license in GA there was a sign test with it. if you can pass that without knowing English, is there a reason you shouldnt be able to drive?
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Old 04-25-06, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by X
Like "Stop-this is the police!" or "Pull it over!" or "Get out of the car with your hands up!"?

Are there signs for those too? Is reading the important thing or understanding the language?
those would be needed for people who aren't driving too (well other than the last two)
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Old 04-25-06, 09:25 AM
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Hmm thread title misleading, at first I was thinking this would be going after old people drivers and was excited. My thinking on the actual article: who cares?
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Old 04-25-06, 09:52 AM
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Signs are not all uniformly the same though. One-way streets do not always have simply an arrow. "No right turn on red" can be a variety of shapes and colors.

These are just two examples where the safety of others can be a factor if these signs are not understood.
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Old 04-25-06, 09:54 AM
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Based on the way people drive around here, it doesn't really matter if you understand the signs or not since they're all ignored anyway.
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Old 04-25-06, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Geofferson
Signs are not all uniformly the same though. One-way streets do not always have simply an arrow. "No right turn on red" can be a variety of shapes and colors.

These are just two examples where the safety of others can be a factor if these signs are not understood.
Don't we let anyone from any country drive here if they have a valid driver's license from their country? Can't we do the same in any country we go? I see plenty of gringos driving around Cancun in tiny jeeps who don't know the difference between Alto & Peligro.
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Old 04-25-06, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
Don't we let anyone from any country drive here if they have a valid driver's license from their country? Can't we do the same in any country we go? I see plenty of gringos driving around Cancun in tiny jeeps who don't know the difference between Alto & Peligro.
Citizens or tourists? Or who cares?
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Old 04-25-06, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Geofferson
Citizens or tourists? Or who cares?
Doesn't matter does it? The thread title says "allowed to drive".
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Old 04-25-06, 11:51 AM
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I'm all for understanding traffic signs, as was previously stated. I am not so quick to dismiss this as a non-issue as there are numerous instances where others could be harmed because of a driver's inability to read.

Out of curiosity, when an illiterate driver is ticketed, what happens then (since they can't read the ticket)?

Regarding citizens vs tourists: literacy test as part of naturalization process
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Old 04-25-06, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
when i got a license in GA there was a sign test with it. if you can pass that without knowing English, is there a reason you shouldnt be able to drive?
Yes, because the test is too easy.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Geofferson
Regarding citizens vs tourists: literacy test as part of naturalization process
Is it possible for an illiterate person to even take the citizenship test?
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Old 04-25-06, 11:58 AM
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To me it's just the principle of the thing. I wouldn't expect to move to a different country and expect them to cater to my native language. Should you really have to have a form in every language in the world just so you don't get sued.

I mean, what if I live out in the middle of nowhere and only teach my kids Vulcan. Would the DMV be discriminating against my kids if they don't have a Trekkie to translate all of the forms for them?
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Old 04-25-06, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
Is it possible for an illiterate person to even take the citizenship test?
That's why I posed the earlier question of citizens vs tourists.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:20 PM
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where others could be harmed because of a driver's inability to read.
Then we shouldn't let ANYONE from ANY country who isn't completely literate drive in our country, no? When someone crosses the border from Canada or Mexico, should we give them a reading comprehension test?
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Old 04-25-06, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
Is it possible for an illiterate person to even take the citizenship test?
It could be. If someone was mentally challenged and couldn't read, do they automatically not let that person become a citizen even thought they fulfill every requirement?

<b>Personal Aside: I'd rather have an illiterate person be a citizen than someone who is so ashamed to become an American they refuse to say that oath at the ceremony. At my wife's recent ceremony, she said there were quite a few people who weren't repeating it, mainly Somalis and other Muslims.</b>
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Old 04-25-06, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
Then we shouldn't let ANYONE from ANY country who isn't completely literate drive in our country, no? When someone crosses the border from Canada or Mexico, should we give them a reading comprehension test?
Not sure why you think I said that. If drivers can understand signs, great. If drivers cannot read some signs, well that's a risk and if society is fine with that risk, than so be it.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Geofferson
Not sure why you think I said that. If drivers can understand signs, great. If drivers cannot read some signs, well that's a risk and if society is fine with that risk, than so be it.
I'm talking about the subject of the thread.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:55 PM
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How many accidents have been caused because somebody couldn't read a road sign? Realistically, the worst thing that could happen is that the driver gets lost (and eventually Philiminated).
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